Changing the face of STEM

Friday, Sept. 3, 2021

Dedicated students, distinguished colleagues and dear friends:

Happy Friday!

Listening to the NPR program “St. Louis on the Air” during a return drive from visiting an alumnus in St. Louis, I was intrigued by the program’s guest, Ms. Cynthia Chapple. A creative young chemist, Cynthia is the founding director of a St. Louis-based organization called “Black Girls Do STEM.”

Check out the wonderful mission of this organization: “To trigger an increased curiosity through deliberate education, access and opportunity of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in the minds of black girls in every community.”

I was so fascinated by Cynthia’s entrepreneurship and spirit of positive social change, that I reached out to her by phone and invited her to visit our campus. She graciously agreed and presented a terrific overview of the history, advocacy and success of this wonderful organization that she single-handedly created in 2019.

“We can stake our claim of ownership in the future, if only we are courageous enough to create it!” said Cynthia during her visit with our leadership team.

During her presentation, Cynthia’s sincere and caring voice had in it the promise of care, learning and prosperity that radiated profound encouragement for the young minds in her care.

Needless to say, we are forging a collaborative relationship with Black Girls Do STEM and our timing could not be better. Black Girls Do STEM began with seventh- and eighth-graders and this academic year Cynthia’s vanguard cohort is in the 11th grade; a perfect match of rising seniors for our own Kummer Vanguard Scholarship program. We also plan to partner with Cynthia to provide opportunities for Black Girls Do STEM students in our summer camps, and to bring some of her students to our campus next February as part of our National Society of Black Engineers’ Pre-College Initiative program.

I so admire Cynthia’s passion to open new pathways to girls and young women, and believe that S&T offers many opportunities for her students as well as many others. Our world needs these talented young people to pursue their big ideas and become the scientists, engineers and leaders of tomorrow.

Wishing you all a happy and safe Labor Day weekend.



Mohammad Dehghani, PhD
Chancellor | 573-341-4116
206 Parker Hall, 300 West 13th Street, Rolla, MO 65409-0910